Ford Atlas Concept live photos: 2013 NAIAS

Ford surprisingly unveiled the Ford Atlas Concept truck today at the North American International Auto Show. It showcases the latest design and technologies that Ford plans on rolling out with all of their trucks in the near future.

Since Ford aesthetically separated the F-150 from the Ford Super Duty Series back in 1998 (the F-250 still continued on in the F-150 body style for a few years afterwards), they’ve remained as two separate entities. Especially after the Super Duty was redesigned to feature more prominent grilles. This concept attempts to bridge the gap between the two, with the Super Duty influencing the little brother’s looks.

“We wanted the concept to reflect how Ford trucks help customers in both their worlds – professionally and personally,” said J Mays, Ford group vice president and chief creative officer. “Every surface and feature in the vehicle has been crafted for purpose and capability while retaining an unmistakable Built Ford Tough look.”

Switching from the front and sides to the all-important bed, Ford has showcased some very welcomed additions. For starters, integrated multiple tie down points are located within the cargo box and load floor will make securing loads just that much easier. Another key feature is the 110-volt electrical outlets in the cargo box to charge/run power tools.

Hopefully the next-generation F-Series will have a larger battery, so that one can run the power tools off of the battery, saving loads of time. Finally, an integrated roof carrying system, LED lights in the front, rear, cargo box, and side mirrors, as well as hidden extendable ramps makes working on the job sites just a little bit easier. As a general contractor, all of these features will make the next F-Series another great tool to have.

Additional features include:

  • Dual-Purpose Tailgate Step and Cargo Cradle: The acclaimed Ford Tailgate Step goes a step further by adding the ability to also act as a cargo cradle – lifting and holding extra-long cargo items above the truck and freeing valuable bed spaceTrailer
  • Backup Assist: This segment-first innovation allows drivers to back a trailer with the twist of a knob. Ford research shows that backing a trailer is often the most intimidating task a truck customer can face
  • Dynamic Hitch Assist: Hitching a trailer can be time consuming and difficult. Dynamic Hitch Assist helps precisely line up the truck’s hitch with the trailer coupling, eliminating maneuvering guesswork by showing visual cues in the truck’s center display screen
  • 360-Degree Point-of-View Camera: A Ford truck first, the system gives a bird’s-eye view of the truck to help position the vehicle in tight places or when there are obstacles near the truck – such as on a busy job site or grocery store parking lot

Besides power, the name of the game today is fuel efficiency. Ford addresses that with their acclaimed Ecoboost engines, which have been a surprise hit for the Blue Oval. The Atlas Concept adds some additional technology to help maximise the engine’s fuel economy capabilities:

  • Active Grille Shutters: Automatic shutters behind the grille stay open when extra engine cooling is needed, such as during low-speed stop-and-go driving or while working in hot weather. The shutters automatically close to improve aerodynamics when cruising on the highway at steady speeds
  • Active Wheel Shutters: Automatic shutters in the wheels are hidden to improve style at rest and low speeds, but automatically close at highway speeds to improve aerodynamics. Self-charging batteries use energy from the wheels’ motion to power the shutters Drop-Down Front Air Dam: A drop-down front wind spoiler lowers at highway speeds to improve underbody airflow. The air dam is raised at low speeds to improve ground clearance – helpful for off-roading
  • Power Running Boards: Auto-deploying running boards help passengers enter the truck at rest and tuck up against the truck when it is moving to improve aerodynamics and ground clearance

All of these additional features should equate to about two additional highway miles per gallon, while not sacrificing towing or hauling capability. Every little bit helps.

Inside, while Ford continues to improve the game-changing comfortable interior, they’ve also added work-friendly features such as glove-friendly buttons, “floating” instrument pods, and integrated storage for smaller items. Also, a new thinner seat design allows for additional rear legroom for rear seat passengers, which has long been a weakness with extended cab pickups.

“The Ford Atlas Concept previews the innovations that will transform what people expect from their pickup,” said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “With 36 years as America’s best-selling pickup, we are absolutely committed to setting the agenda in the truck market.”

Photo Credit: Newspress

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